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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  May 2, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: a chinese activist left the u.s. embassy in beijing today, but there are conflicting accounts on why and what will happen to him next. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, we get the latest on the blind dissident who claimed today that chinese authorities threatened to beat his wife to death. >> brown: then, we turn to the presidential race, as the campaigns ramp up in virginia, expected to be one of several key battleground states. >> ifill: hari sreenivasan reports on the balancing act for educators who try to steer clear of politics when teaching climate science. >> the science classroom is about using fundamental principles of science. it's not about talking about
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policy debates. it's evidence. >> brown: ray suarez examines the shifting burden of responsibility in afghanistan after president obama signed a pact heralding a new era of partnership between the two nations. >> ifill: and judy woodruff talks with gerda weissmann klein about how her horrifying years in nazi captivity inspired her to work with students on the value of american citizenship. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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>> citi turns 200 this year. in that time, there have been some good days and some difficult ones. but through it all, we persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. >> and by nordic naturals. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible
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by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: a leading chinese dissident gave up his u.s. diplomatic sanctuary today; that much was clear. but nearly everything else surrounding the fate of the blind activist remained in dispute. chen guangcheng emerged from the american embassy in beijing today after being hold up there for six days. he was accompanied by u.s. ambassador gary locke, who was taken to this nearby hospital to treat a leg injury. there he was reunited with his wife, daughter, and son. but in short order, chen told the associated press in a phone interinterview from the hospital that he left the embassy under duress. >> ( translated ): if i didn't leave the chinese authorities would endanger my family and
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send them back to shandong. also i got the feeling the u.s. gof the in the embassy was quite supportive of me leaving as well. >>. >> he had been under house arrest for months before escape, in april. in washington, state department spokesman mark toner disputed the account. >> at notime did any u.s. official speak to chen about physical or legal threats to his wife and children nor did any chinese officials make threats to us or through of through us. >> the chinese government promised not to retaliate against chen. they also said he did not want asylum in the u.s. but instead would be allowed to in a university town. chen told the a.p., u.s. officials disappeared after he reached the exphpt now he fears for his safety and wants to leave china. >> ( translated ): i feel that if they could ensure our safety, i'd say, but the way it looks
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now, i have already lost hope of that. >> back in washington, the state department spokesman had this response: >> at no time did he ever request political asylum. that's another thing we're seeing in the press. at every opportunity, according, again, to those officials who were with him during his stay at the u.s. embassy, he expressed a desire to stay in china. he wanted to reunify with his family. >> even as chen was heading to the hospital, secretary of state hillary clinton arrived in beijing for a long-scheduled talks. she released a statement before chen spoke out in which she welcomedly the agreement. >> foreign policy magazine editor susan glasser traveled with the clinton delegation to china. she says u.s. officials believe they tried to help chen. >> they thought they did the best they could do. i wouldn't say they thought this
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was necessarily a great deal. clearly, there's not a ton of guarantees that the chinese will abide by this agreement. i think they were very careful to say that they believe this is what chen wanted was to stay in china. if he's changed his mind, obviously, that changes how we're going to loo upon this del and whether it was the right thing to do. >> meanwhile, the chinese government demand an apology from the united states. the foreign minister said: in the meantime, security was tight outside the hospital where chen is being treated, and the hospital's name was quickly banned as a search term on the chinese internet. we take a closer look now at this still unfolding story with shao chung, director of the berkeley-china internet project at u.c. berkeley, and editor of the "china digital times," an online publication.
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and evan osnos, who's written on chen guangcheng and other dissidents as the china correspondent for the "new yorker" magazine. he joins us tonight from the campus of stanford university. os, i'll start with you. what do you make of this very confusing series of events today? is there any way to unravel what's known at this point? >> well, it's been an extraordinary 24 hours. the story is very dynamic. a few hours ago, frankly, all of us thought that the u.s. government, the chinese side, had reached perhaps the best available solution given the moment, which was to create an opportunity for chen guangcheng to get out, who've on with his life, perhaps in a new city with his family and out of the persecution of this local government. what we now see, of course, say dramatic turnaround. chen, who we is have to remember has been under extraordinary pressure for seven years. he's been in and out of jail and house arrest and now he's been put into the position of having to negotiate and be in the center of this very complex negotiation. so he has come out and made statements that, obviously, stunned u.s. officials, and i
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think it's going to be several hours, perhaps a couple of days, before we know exactly what this deal includes. >> brown: shao chung, i know you have been monitoring chinese media and the internet. can you glean anything from that? >> well, in your introduction line, you already mentioned the hospital now is now a banned search word in the chinese cyberspace. but far more than just hospital name, in the past week, there are over dozens of the chinese word or combination of words from-- starting from blind man to even che chen guangcheng's surname, chen, one of the most common sir names in china. so the level of censorship and preventing the chinese society to be aware of such dramatic
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event itself, to show how important this the chinese authority is. >> evan osnos, i know you followed this for a long time and went to visit chen in his village where he was held, there, there were local authorities holding him. now we have the chinese government itself apparently giving some assurances to u.s. authoritys. what do you make of that? what does it say about who is in charge or the state of play in china? >> well, this is one of the things about chen's case that has been so interesting and confusing for a number of years. if you go back to 2005, which is when he first really became prominent in the western imagine, and to most of the chinese public, that was a time when he was challenging his local government on the way that they were enforcing the one-child policy. and he'd really gotten himself into a conflict with this local government. i went down to try to visit his house. a lot of journalists, later activists, and christian bale, when he was in china filming a
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movie, went to visit his house and his case had bye-bye iconic. it was not just about conflict with the local government but the nature of dissent, what was worthwhile, what was important and why a person would fight this hard. his case had become more than a local issue, and the central government, whether it wanted to or not ultimately had to take a position on whether it would help chen guangcheng get out of this very difficult situation. ultimately, the local government was never going to, it seemed, allow him out of house arrest. >> brown: shao chung, the other part of what happened today is u.s. authorities describing more detail of their help to chen to get into the embassy and basically, for the first time, admitting that they had him there. and then you had the chinese foreign minister coming out and demanding an apology. now, what do you read into the chinese response? >> well, let me start from from
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seven years ago, when he was visiting the united states, at my berkeley campus. i was very impressed by his intelligence, courage, and incredible dedication for what he does and who he is. for someone like that, when we turned back to china, engaging in his simple commitment to help others through the law, and then the suffering he had been through which now we are all familiar with through the media, both in china and outside china, actually, is some strong indicator of how the chinese society has become. it's far more than local authorities' conduct. over the years, he already became an international known figure. without a central authority's permission, or even directive, the local authority dare not to treat him that way. therefore, now, when he is in
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such a situation supposedly receiving some promises from the chinese authorities at the highest level, it's all in question. now come back to what you ask me, the chinese government demanding of the u.s. for apology. the first question, i would say, is that why the chinese government ask themselves that their own official and their own citizen, starting from a police chief in the major city, to a blind activist, when their life is in danger, they seek refugee only in entire china to the u.s. embassy. and what make the chinese government last its-- and people like chen guangcheng at this point is his safety to stay in the home in the own homeland, to pursue his-- what he believes in
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as a free citizen. that's what's important about. but there's no way we can see the chinese authority can deliver that promise. >> announcer: so, evan osnos, starting with you on this, the clear question now is whether u.s. involvement in this, the very public nature of this case, might offer some promise opener hope that chen would not be persecuted. >> well, that has been the goal, but for years, frankly, people have said that chen guangcheng's case has become so big, it's become so important, that it seems almost impossible that the chinese government would not want to seek a solution. and that's been one of the things that's confusing about it. i think shao chung is right, at a certain point it became clear this case could not have gone on as long as it has been without on some level the knowledge of the central government. they must have known that this case was continuing and they were going to have to intervene to bring to an end. now it's become an international
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case, and the united states in allowing chen out of the embassy has essentially staked his name to protecting him and his family. part of the agreement was the united states would continue to monitor him and his family in the months and years ahead. that hasn't changed. that's one of the things we know to be true is whether or not chen guangcheng stays in china or goes abroad, the united states made a choice which was to help him exit the embassy. and now the question will be how to make sure he stays safe and the chinese government, whether it's local or central, does not go back to persecuting him. >> brown: and shao chung, just briefly, if you would, there are other people involved in this, friends of his who helped him with escape. what is known about them at this point? >> that's right. there are incredible brave behavior by chen guangcheng's friends and volunteer activists who assisted him during the escape and supported him before-- while evidence in under house arrest, and even now. some of them are in arrest or
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house arrest, and prosecution-- some of them we don't know where they're about. and this general environment, there's no reason we can believe that chen guangcheng by himself alone can be safe. >> brown: all right shao chung, and evan osnos, thank you both very much. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, battling for swing voters; teaching climate science; taking responsibility in afghanistan; and remembering the holocaust. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: violent clashes erupted in cairo, egypt, today, three weeks ahead of a presidential election. at least 11 people died, and nearly 50 others were wounded. apparent supporters of the ruling military attacked a group of largely islamist anti- government protesters camped outside the defense ministry. each side hurled firebombs and rocks. the man whose memos justified harsh treatment of u.s. terror suspects has won a key court battle. a federal appeals court in san francisco ruled today that john
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yoo has immunity against lawsuits by detainees. yoo wrote legal opinions for the bush justice department, authorizing waterboarding, among other tactics. the court today dismissed a lawsuit by jose padilla, who claimed he was illegally tortured. republican newt gingrich is formally ending his bid for the white house. he announced today he'll suspend his campaign, after winning just two states, south carolina and georgia. gingrich spoke in arlington virginia this afternoon. he did not endorse mitt romney, the party's presumptive nominee, but he did say this. >> the question is, is is mitt romney conservative? and my answer is simple, compared to barack obama. this is not a choice between mitt romney and ronald reagan. this is a choice between mitt romney and the most radical leftest president in american hcht. >> sreenivasan: gingrich is left with a campaign debt of $4.5 million.
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there was troubling news on the u.s. economy today. the payroll processor, a.d.p., reported hiring was down sharply from march. the disappointing data led to a mixed day on wall street. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 11 points to close at 13,268. the nasdaq rose nine points to close above 3059. prosecutors in florida have charged 13 students at florida a&m university in the hazing death of a school band member. drum major robert champion was found unconscious last november, on a chartered bus outside an orlando hotel. the medical examiner said he'd been beaten and gone into shock. 11 students will be charged with felony hazing, and each could get six years in prison. two others face misdemeanor charges. one of the world's most recognizable paintings, "the scream," will be auctioned tonight at sotheby's in new york. it's expected to fetch $80 million or more. the norwegian expressionist edvard munch created the iconic image in 1895. it has since become a popular symbol of anxiety. munch painted four versions of
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"the scream." the others are in museums. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: we turn to politics with a look at the states that will see the most action during the presidential campaign. mitt romney stumped today in virginia and he plans two more visits to the state this week. and president obama heads to virginia twice this week, including saturday's reelection kickoff in richmond. for more on how the battle is being waged in virginia and beyond, we are joined by susan page, washington bureau chief for "u.s.a. today," and newshour political editor christina bellantoni. welcome, ladies. let's start by talking about why virginia? it's not just because it's across the river from washington. >> it is close but that's not why. think about how virginia has changed. the last time it went, president obama carried it four years ago, but the preestles time it went democratic was in 1964, but this is a different kind of state, one a republican bastion and now in play with the college-educated white voter von a growing number of hispanic voters and one of the most important swing states this time
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around. >> ifill: let's talk about what happened in 2008. break it down for us how president obama won in virginia. >> this was no accident he won in virginia. they campaigned very hard for him there. first off, his first general election rally was there and his last general election rally was there. he won by points in party by winning the northern virginia suburbs and exburbs, a growing population, , the sort of classf voter he tend to win across the country. he also won the urban centers and was able to win in the military regions in the southeast, which are plentiful, and this is where other candidates have been able to target, and that's sort of the swing area. >> ifill: a year later, bob mcdonald, who is now the governor, republican, managed to win. how did he turn the state the other way? >> this was a traditional big, big stomping win for bob mcdonald in this case, but he was able to win those northern virginia suburbs, which is very important, particularly for republicans.
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republicans don't tend to win in that area. it's a more dreamtarea. so being able to win up there is very crucial, which is why mitt romney was there today. he's very much targeting that swing suburb an voter. >> ifill: so the swing continued in 2010. the midterm elections where we saw across the nation so many shifts happen, happened in virginia as well. >> the republican wave really came through virginia where you lost three democratic see the that flipped over to republican seats and that started in the very conservative area in southwest virginia. glaen tell me what we're looking at. >> the ninth congressional district. then the fifth district, which is sort of the central virginia, starts in lynchburg and goes south. that was a seat where a democratic member who won in the obama wave in 2008, was swept out. and hampton roads, this military region in the southeast. these are all very crucial areas and the democrats are down to three seats in virginia. >> ifill: we know what the state of the state is, in virginia. what is the state of the strategy of either of these campaigns to try to win it? >> you know, one of the great
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things about covering presidential politics is you don't have to listen to what campaigns tell you. you can watch where they spend their money and where they spend their time. as you know, we're seeing both of the candidates -- romney here today in had a different part of the state tomorrow with the governor by his side. we see president obama here on friday, and then back again on saturday. you know, if you want ton where the obama campaign believes this election elect won or lost, look at the two states he's going to go to, to announce his campaign. ohio, maybe the quintessential swing state. no republican has won the white house without carrying ohio. and virginia. >> ifill: and they're already spending money, as you mentioned, on advertising on the air. a lot of money? >> a lot of money. and restore our future, the superpac supporting romney, announced today $4.3 million in ad purchases in several states, including virginia. >> ifill: christina let's skip through other target states.
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it's not just virginia. it may be the tip of the deciding iceberg as it were. >> we have highlighted a couple of state, starting with new hampshire, the perennial battle dplownd state. it has flipped with several different elections. an example, if you look at the 2010 senate race. kelly ayotte won by 23 point and the two congressional seats flipped. >> ifill: she's the republican senator. >> yes. and that's one we're looking at. then you have new mexico, the crucial area in the southwest that president obama's campaign is very much target upon. he swept the southwest in 2008, and in 2010, this is another example where you can look at suzanna martinez, a republican able to win the governor's race there. there had been a democratic governor, bill richardson before and a congressional seat flipped. you really see a trend and that's why the republicans are trying to target there. the democrats are feeling pretty confident. then pennsylvania, a working
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class stated state, where you have a lot of voters -- susan and i talked about this-- the working class voter that has not warmed up to president obama, that the romney campaign thinks they can target. in 2010, you saw the republican, tom corbett, win the race by nine points and several congressional seats flip plus the senate race. so you've had several big exphngz that's what they're trying to capitalize on. >> ifill: not only are two of the three people you mentioned on the vice presidential list but it's also a map to the electoral college. >> absolutely. if you start with the base 2008 map that president obama won, and then you just look at these states that we've talked about-- virginia, pennsylvania, new hampshire, new mexico. and you've got 42 electoral votes up for grabs right there. now, based on these numbers, president obama would win reelection, but when you talk about some of the other changes in the state, it's going to be an interesting close race. >> ifill: are these campaigns actually looking at electoral college votes already? >> oh, yes, absolutely.
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and you don't see them wasting time in states they're guaranteed to win or guaranteed to lose. all the action is going to be in about 12 states, including the four you just mentioned, because they do have electoral college strategies in mind. and interesting, you look at those four states, all four had democratic governors in 2008. three of them have republican governors going into 2012, and that is one thing that gives the romney people some hope that these are states that they can win back. >> ifill: susan, what are the issues resinating with voters in these states? they're not swinging to and fro on a whim. there's something driving this. >> i think the economy is the issue for every kind of voter in america. when governor romney made his appearance in northern virginia this morning, i was there, he was talking about helping small businesses, help job creation. he was also surrounded by women small business owners, an effort to address the gender gap which has been a problem for him. economy, and also education. that's another thing governor romney talked about today, and
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it's the focus of president obama's visit on friday to a northern virginia high school. >> ifill: and they're spending a lot of time on college campuses as well, both of them. when you talk to voters as you go out to these campaign events and you see the people they're talking to, the people who come in the middle of the day, middle of the week to a political event, what are they curious about? what are they telling you? >> i talked to some voters today at the romney event, some of them were republican voters that had been a little slow to warm to romney. i talked to a gingrich voter, another voter who thought was romney conservative enough? they seem to be falling in line behind him. interestingly, several of the voters i talked to today in northern virginia today were obama voters four years ago. these kind of events usually get true believers. that's a sign there has been erosion for president obama in these suburbs. >> ifill: they are curious or switching? >> they are switching, and the voters in that category. now, it's just a couple of voters, it's not any kind of
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scientific sample, but the issue they talk about is the economy, jobs, the federal debt and deficit. >> ifill: we'll be watching all those years, susan page, all year long, christina bellantoni, thank you very much. >> ifill: online, you can use our vote 2012 map center to try out different fall election scenarios for yourself. you'll also find demographic data on who will be voting and where. >> brown: now, to our series called "coping with climate change" that examines how communities around the country are dealing with unfolding changes. tonight hari sreenivasan focuses on the challenges of teaching about climate science. >> what have you heard? >> sreenivasan: cheryl manning, a high school science teacher in evergreen, colorado, starts her lessons about climate change by asking questions, not giving answers. >> i ask them first what they think they know.
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i want them to form the questions, and then i try and teach to those questions. >> that's because so many students today enter the classroom with preconceived notions about climate change. >> they see it in the news, hear their parents talking about it, and there are people who say the climate may be changing but it's not our fault, or the climate isn't changing at all. this is a natural cycle. there are all sorts of things the kids hear. they want clarification. >> sreenivasan: in fact, in a recent survey by the national science teachers association, teachers say they're facing skepticism about climate science. 82% of science teachers say they faced it from students, and 54% say they faced it from parents. >> you can put the spoons on there. >> reporter: parents like rene dimeeko of colorado, a mother of five. >> my biggest concern is my kids are going to come home from hool and say the world is warming pup we're too industrialized. we drive too many cars.
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we have too many people. and human nature is polluting the world. >> sreenivasan: cheryl manning knows the skepticism firsthand. >> i looked at data steps published on line by noaa and nasa and i had them comparing and looking at those and looking at projections and models, what were the models indicating, and parents come to me during parent-teacher conference, and they were very upset that i was teaching about this. and they referred to peer-reviewed sciences, the kool-aid of the left wing liberal conspiracy, and it was at that point that i realized what i was up against with this group of parents and i knew i needed to get help. >> sreenivasan: she sought help from susan burr. >> teachers in science classes are always going to want to talk
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about the science. and increasingly, it's difficult for them to do so because of resistance from parents or from students to hearing about the evidence of climate science and climate change. i want to talk a little bit about the threats that come at a higher level than your classrooms displar to help teachers respond to concerns from students and parents, burr and colleagues have developed climate change workshops, even curriculum and lesson plans, on how to keep the science in the classroom and the political controversy out. >> it ising significant enough to some teachers that they don't want to get into this topic. so it can shut down instruction. >> sreenivasan: parents and students are also influenced by what's in the air, or during a political season, what's on the airwaves from politicians. mitt romney echoed views held by many in the republican party. >> my view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on
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this planet and the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to retiews co2 emissions is not the right course for us. >> sreenivasan: president obama said the climate change issue will be part of his 2012 campaign in this month's "role stone" magazine: cheryl manning's challenge with parents in the foothills of the rocky mountain ended with her superintendent supporting her, but she says the experience was exhausting. climate science education faces challenges at the state levels. this spring, tennessee enacted a law requiring teachers to present scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses on topics that aroused debate. in louisiana the science education act passed in 2008 requires schools to provide open and objective studies on evolution, the origins of life,
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global warming and human cloning. >> the word "theory" is a weak concept. it's an idea. in scientific culture, the word "theory" is equivalent to the word "survivor." >> sreenivasan: science teacher cheryl manning says the distinction is important. >> it is the idea that best explains a phenomenon and has had lines and lines of evidence supporting it, and it has been tested and tested and tested, and it survived all those tests. whereas, a theory in popular culture could just fall under the bus and disappear. >> sreenivasan: the national earth science teachers association encourages teachers not to be innocence influenced l commentary. 36% of science teachers around the country say they have been influenced enough to teach both sides of climate change. roberta johnson is the association's executive director. >> the science classroom is
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about using science fundamental principals of science and our ability to look at evidence and analyze it and draw evidence based conclusions. it's not about talking about policy debates. it's not about whether something is socially acceptable. it's evidence. >> sreenivasan: new national standards for grades k-12 will, for the first time, link global warming trends to manmade emissions. the standards are based on a framework by the national academy of sciences. the academy says 97% to 98% of the most published climate researchers say humans are causing global warming. still, persistent skeptics remain unconvinced. >> they like to scare you you utell you the earth is on fire. >> sreenivasan: a well-known conservative think tank, the
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heartland institute, does not trust the science behind the upcoming standards. they will try to influence teachers directly. the institute has announced they will create their own k-12 climate science curriculum, including a reflection of the institute's view that global warming has been a net positive. james taylor is a senior fellow at heartland. >> we've seen that soil moisture globally has improved. we've seen that droughts have become less frequent and less severe. we've seen expansion of forests. we've seen crop production reached record levels. we've seen tornadoes and hurricanes to the extent that we can ascribe trends. we've seen that they've become less frequent and less severe. across the board we've seen the warmer climate, warmer temperatures have always benefited humans, and continued to do so. >> sreenivasan: views challenged by scientific evidence. in cheryl manning's classroom, she is trying to get her students to tackle both the validity of the science behind climate change, and what society can do about it. >> i want you to look for when did the conversation change from being just among scientists to
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being amongst more than that-- amongst policy makers, amongst industry people, and amongst the general public? >> sreenivasan: she now asks her advanced placement environmental class to create a timeline. students chronicle both significant scientific advances and political events. >> my hope is that they walk away with a clear understanding of there's a difference between the scientific understanding of the processes and the political conversation that's going on. i don't want them to confuse the politics and the economics and all of that with the actual, actual data that exists. so i want them to be able to identify it and separate it from each other. >> sreenivasan: manning is now sharing the lessons she has learned with other teachers through on-line and in-person workshops throughout the country. >> brown: and other teachers explain the creative ways
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they've engaged students on our "coping with climate change" page on our web site. plus, join us tomorrow for a live online chat at 5:00 p.m. eastern time with some of people featured in tonight's story. >> ifill: now, as the ink dries on the new joint agreement signed yesterday in kabul, we look at what that means for the afghan government. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: explosions and gunfire shattered the early-morning calm in kabul just 90 minutes after president obama ended his surprise visit to afghanistan. a suicide bomber and gunman attacked a compound housing foreigners, the so-called green village, killing at least seven people. it was a stark challenge to the president's assertion in his televised address earlier that the risk had dwindled. >> we broke the taliban's
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momentum. we built strong afghan security forces. we devastated al qaeda's leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders. >> suarez: the president spoke after he and afghan president hamid karzai, signed an agreement running through 2012, a decade beyond the scheduled withdrawal of u.s. combat troops in 2014. the agreement calls for unspecified u.s. military and financial commitments, but also for a crackdown on corruption by the afghans. >> it includes afghan commitments to transparency and accountability and to protect the human rights of all afghans-- men and women, boys and girls. within this framework, we'll work with the afghans to determine what support they need to accomplish to narrow security missions beyond 2014-- counter-terrorism and continued training. >> suarez: as for the afghan view, there were definite doubt
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on the streets of kabul today. >> ( translated ): i think this partnership is not good because look at what we have achieved in the last 10 years when the americans are already here. so this partnership will also fail. >> suarez: but one member of the afghan parliament said she's hoping lawmakers will approve the agreement. >> it's very early to say that the parliament may pass or not, but from my point of view, as long as it is good for the country and good for the afghan people, we would like to vote for it. >> suarez: meanwhile, as president obama arrived back at the white house this morning, the taliban announced its spring offensive will begin tomorrow. now, two views on the agreement signed last night, from ali jalali, afghanistan's interior minister from 2003 to 2005. he's now at national defense university here in washington. and steven clemons, editor-at- large at the "atlantic" and senior fellow and founder of the american strategy program at the new america foundation.
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gentlemen, there's been a lot of talk about what the united states promised in the documents signed with the afghans. steven clemons, one of the big to-do items that the afghans are now obliged to do. >> well, i think the afghans are obliged to do things i regretfully say i think they can't. what we hope they will do is continue to build an inclusive, civil society, a democracy that respects human rights, women's rights, that stamps out corruption and begins to deliver a better way of life for the nation as a whole. that's the goal and objective, and i think that there are efforts under way to do that. what we're likely to see is something that is a much more minimalist version of that, where opportunity is storied around kabul, where a shrunkle u.s. military force essentially acts as a deterrent to an overthrow of that government but you basically lose control of mump of the rest of the government. and as american forces draw down, the infusion of cash into
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that economy also dwindles. so that means security forces come down and the whole dynamic in afghanistan becomes much messier and so we're likely to see a messy future, while having the expectation of a more robust and balanced civil society displai there are specific promises in the document of, ali jalali, about protecting the rights of women, about suppressing corruption while building government institution. do you share steven clemons' pessimism that you government can do this? >> well, there's one thing-- of course i agree with him that protection of human rights and also a government that's accountable and transparent and also inclusive, that is the key to stability in afghanistan. no matter-- no amount of foreign troops or foreign money is going to stanleyize the country unless there is a government that the people can trust. this is-- however in the past 10 years, i think the afghan
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society has changed. i think there is a lot of support for the respect of human rights and also women's rights. i don't think the country will go back to the day the taliban were actually violating all kinds of rights of men and women. i am optimistic, as far as the people are concerned, i think the afghans will make choices. they are not going to go back to that era. however, it depends on the security situation, and capacity of the government that can protect the population and provide security and the rule of law. and that can be possible only if the government can control its security. >> i visited the ministry of women's affairs in kabul. this is a time with a large-scale u.s. stewardship of the afghan situation, $120 billion a year going in, and that ministry had almost no resources to do anything in what you would consider to be the best of circumstances. so when you draw down the forces
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and you draw down the money, it's very hard for me to see, particularly as the power dynamics in the rest of the country shift to a-- an ascendancy again of warlords in certain areas, as partners with the u.s. government, or perhaps partners of other players, that in that situation, i think we need to have a realistic lens. and i have been actually proposing that we need to find ways in anticipation of this to bring afghans' best and most talented women into the yairlz we will be able to protect to give them opportunities they won't be able to have in other parts of the country outside of kabul. >> suarez: "partner" is what the president used last night as well. he said, "with this agreement the afghan people and the world should know that afghanistan has a friend and partner in the u.s. would president karzai say the same thing to his people about the united states? >> i think he always say that is a partnership. partnership means both sides of the partnership should do their commitments or actually honor
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their commitments. so this partnership agreement, with all the vagueness that it has, it sends a very strong message to the taliban and to their supporters in the region, that transition does not mean abdment offing afghanistan. >> suarez: one specific point in the documents say the united states won't launch attacks on third-party countries from afghan soils on other places. would this make illegal the united states' pursuit of terrorists over the border in pakistan? >> it could be interpreted in different ways. yes, afghanistan, and also its neighbors, want the presence of international forces not to threateny-- the neighbors or afghanistan's territory should not be used against the neighboring countries. however, the using of you--
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attacks by drones against taliban or against the al qaeda affiliatates, is not a country commitment. al qaeda is not a country. >> suarez: do you think that's the kind of thing, steven clemons, that will trip this agreement up? >> i think there are many things. it was not a status of forces agreement. it was a status of forces agreement that tripped up u.s. forces remaining in iraq and the inability to get anyone there. i think ali jalali is a declared candidate for president in the next election and i think it's going to be interesting to watch these various candidates run and whether they support or not a status of forces agreement with the united states because it could become a measure of how afghans look at their legitimacy, and what will eventually, some sorting out over whether the u.s. role in afghanistan was helpful or hurtful. but it could become a test of legitimacy in the eyes of afghan citizens, just as it was in iraq. if that doesn't happen, u.s. forces will not stay in afghanistan after 2014. >> suarez: are the common afghans in the streets, in the
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marketplaces, in the fields, as tired of war as president obama says americans are? don't they want to see this end? >> afghans are tired of war. there's no doubt about it. at the same time, afghans do not want to go foot of, and to have peace at any cost. so, therefore, the majority of people of afghanistan look forward to this partnership with the united states that can at least guarantee the continued international support in terms offing afghanistan's security, economic development, and also regional cooperation, and so on and so forth. however as we've discussed earlier, that all these other issues, the interpretation of partnership, is going to be defined, and that's the difficult part. because in afghanistan, with t
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the-- what happened just recently, with the killing of civilians in kandahar and other issues, people are questioning whether the foreign troops should be subject to their own laws or afghanistan law. this is going to be a sticking point in the strategic-- i mean, the agreement, and that actually was a deal break,. >> suarez: ali jalali, steven clemons, thank you both. >> ray, thank you. >> brown: finally tonight, one woman's story of survival during the holocaust, and her new life in america as0champion of immigrants and citizenship. judy woodruff has our conversation. and a warning: there are some disturbing images. >> i guess we all knew that this was going to be the first step to the end of the road, to liberation or to doom.
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>> woodruff: those first steps for 20-year-old gerda weissman, from poland, in 1947, did lead to liberation, but only after three and a half months, and 350 miles of inimaginable horror. of the more than 2,000 young jewish women and girls, wh germn s.s. forced to watch the death march through the snows of eastern europe, fewer than 150 survived. most already had endured six years of ghettos, concentration camps and slave labor after hitler's army invaded czechoslovakia and pollent. all had been separated from their families and loved ones. >> i was the only one from my family who survived. the only one of my dearest friends. >> woodruff: among the american forces who found the
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starving and half-dead women, was a young jewish intelligence officer, kurt klein. while she was convalescing, gerda and kurt fell in love. they were married in 1946, and she emigrated to the u.s. a the they raised a family in b, new york, and devoted their lives to community service, working for tolerance, and honoring those who had died in the holocaust. her 1957 memoir "all but my life" led to an oscar-winning documentary in 1996. >> i have been in a place for six incredible years where winning meant a crust of bread and to live another day. >> woodruff: in 2011, president obama awarded her the medal of freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive. for the past several years,
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gerda klein has been championing the values of citizenship and the immigrants' role of creating a diverse and vibrant america. mrs. klein it's an honor to have you with us. >> the honor is mine. i'm deeply grateful. >> woodruff: first of all, tell me why is it so important for people to keep talking about the holocaust and what happened? >> i think, of course, the importance of the holocaust should only be too illuminate the fact that hatred is not over. it is going on every single day. and i think the-- we should have more people come from countries where it is happening to see the type of pictures. you know, when i see pictures of little children holding battered
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little things for food, when villages are being burned, this is still going on. i just think the holocaust should be used as a beacon to show what hatred and intolerance and all those things which have led to so much pain all over the world is capable. >> woodruff: people read your story or they hear your story, and they want to know what gave you the strength to survive when so many others didn't, that terrible experience? >> i do believe that it is 95% of luck, to be at the right moment at the right time. when selection came, "you, you, you." furthermore, i also had a good and healthy stiewrkz and the will to live is extremely strong. i mean, i've just gone through
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quite a bit of illness. i'm going to be 88 years old, and i was in the hospital with people who were over 90, and the will to live is still strong. . >> i think it's very magical, life, and particularly if you were as young-- we were all in our early 20s when happened, not quite 20-- the will to live pushes you on. >> woodruff: so you're now, what, it's 62 years later, you are a very young 87. what's kept you going? >> what kept me going is what kept everyone else going-- the hope that when it's all over, we will go home to our families, to the life we left behind. and i think that was probably the worst is when it was over, there was nothing there. in my case, i met my beloved husband at the very moment of liberation. and my life took a different
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turn. and i could credit him with everything. >> woodruff: and what about in the six decades since? what's kept you going all this time? you've dedicated yourself to work on intolerance. >> i've been fortunate. i need to ask myself every day, why am i here? i'm not better. i was holding my children and grandchildren in my arms, sitting down to dinner with friend, walking in the rain, and i have been given the privilege of a meal, so, you know, you have to look back and say if you have what you have, you know, survival is an incredible privilege. it's also very nagging and deep obligation. >> woodruff: and one of the ways you've given back is you've been involved in so many causes. >> hopefully to try to help a little. >> woodruff: the holocaust museum, and you founded a few years ago this organization
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citizenship counts. what is it that you want to convey to the younger generation through this? >> well, let me put it this wa way-- i was so fortunate in meeting my husband who brought me here and i love this country. i love it with the love that only one who has been hungry and homeless for as long as i have been. and my dream was, which is probably everybody else's, complete assumption, my dream was to be married, to live in a home and become a part of a community, to have children, to be involved. and all this became mine. i came here not being able to speak english, and i always wanted to write. i came here not knowing one soul
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but my beloved husband. and look what happened. i wasn't mother teresa. i didn't work in the slums of cool cutta. i didn't give my life to it. i lived a good middle class life. i didn't discover a cure to cancer. you know, i didn't become rich to endow great things. i was just an average person and why did it happen to me? and it only can happen in america. only in america. and i want to give back to this country. >> woodruff: finally, do you think the united states is handling immigrants, immigration the way it should be today? >> i don't know that-- having had yrnd so much for freedom, you can imagine that that's a very difficult question for me. and i hope and pray that in the ultimate decision of justice,
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the heart will win over the brain. >> woodruff: gerda weissman klein, again, it's our honor to talk with you. thank you very much for being with us in the studio. >> thank you. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. a chinese activist, chen guangchen, left his sanctuary at the u.s. embassy in beijing, but within hours he claimed he'd acted under duress. u.s. officials denied it. and taliban attackers struck in kabul, just 90 minutes after president obama ended his overnight visit to afghanistan. at least seven people were killed. online we have a report about a murder in deep space. hari sreenivasan explains. >> sreenivasan: that's right. scientists witnessed a black hole tearing apart a star then devouring it. find the details and watch an animation on our science page. on our health page, we profile an emergency response volunteer
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who compares u.s. health care to a car crash. and patchwork nation explores how the 2004 election offers lessons for mitt romney. that's on our politics page. all that and more is on our web site, jeff? >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on thursday, the daily download looks at the presidential candidates using twitter hash tags. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> working to fulfill our mission of bringing omega 3s to everyone because we believe omega 3s are essential to life.
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